Why Won’t He Offer To Help Pay Her Bills?


Name: Nicole
Question: I have been dating a man for almost 2.5 years.  We’ve had two breaks in our relationship that lasted less than 3 weeks.  The question I have is: this man knows I am in a financial strain right now.  I get paid based on commission and when he first met me I was doing well. He does pay for everything when we go out and will spend money on trips/vacations for us.  So, when it is good for him, he will spend the money.   I have given hints of “I really don’t know how am going to make it thru this next pay period” and my brakes just went out…nothing..  He has the money so it is not a financial thing for him..  My X-husband – when we dated would never want me to worry about anything and would just offer – even if we just to put gas in my car..  Is this something I can change about him or is it worthless.

I just want him to offer…  I don’t need a man to support me always financially – but, I want to know he is there to help when needed..

PS – when we have had serious conversations about the future and marriage he states “You will not have to work”
Age: 48


Two things jump out at me when reading this letter.

I have given hints of “I really don’t know how am going to make it thru this next pay period” and my brakes just went outnothing.. 

My Dad had zero patience for pretense. If I ever needed money the worst thing I could do is hint at being broke. My father didn’t respect that kind of approach. He felt it was an insult to his intelligence. You’re a forty-eight year old woman. If you need help from your partner ask him for it. That doesn’t guarantee that he’ll give it to you but it’s worth a shot. If he’s like most people he’ll appreciate the straight-forward approach.

He has the money so it is not a financial thing for him.

This right here? This is why I believe he’s not offering. It’s not your place to presume what he can or can not afford. Unless you and he share a home or other expenses you know nothing about his financial situation. That sort of entitlement is a turn-off. He might feel as though he’s not responsibile for your financial situation until you two are officially sharing expenses. Keep in mind that he’s not wrong for having that opinion.  Paying for dates and whatnot is one thing. Remember, that’s a societal expectation. He’s used to that. Paying your bills is a whole other story.  If he’s not using your car regularly your brakes are your responsibility. Maybe he wants to draw that line.

I don’t need a man to support me always financially – but, I want to know he is there to help when needed..

Is he there for you emotionally? Does that not count as much as financially? If so, you need to ask yourself why. I understand why you’re miffed at him about this. I know that it hurts me when my sisters hear me struggling and don’t offer some kind of assistance, emotional or otherwise.  I say ask him for the money and see what he says. Like most of the questions submitted to this site the solution is usually to advocate for yourself and see where the chips fall.

Good luck.



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17 Responses to “Why Won’t He Offer To Help Pay Her Bills?”

  1. 40something Says:

    When I saw the line “is this something I can change about him?”, I almost hurled. I’m not sure how old her partner is but I’m going to assume he somewhere close to her age. Her partner hasn’t done anything wrong so I’m not sure what he should have to change. He sounds very generous-just not the kind of generosity she is seeking. Moxie is right. If you need help, then ask. The answer will be either yes or no.

    I can’t personally relate to this but I think sometimes women misinterpret that concept of “men taking care of them.” I recognize some people have very specific gender roles in their relationships where it has been decided that one may stay home to raise the children while the other is the primary breadwinner. At this stage in life (and I mean where peeps aren’t procreating) it should go without saying that everyone is expected to be able to take care of themselves and have their own life barring a disability or some other sort of incapacitation. But that’s not what we are talking about.

    She’s 48. The expectation and understandably so is that she can pay her own bills. Sure, people go through difficult times and there’s nothing wrong with asking for help if one is inclined.nothing wrong with that. Howevs, I can’t help but think when she pointed out that he said she wouldn’t have to work if they were together, that she grabbed onto that like a kit kat bar on Halloween. Most men (or women to be inclusive and I’ve been in this situation) don’t want to pay someone else’s bills if the other person is perfectly capable of paying them , unless specifcally otherwise agreed upon.

    The problem with this situation is that OP thinks because her bf appears to have financial security, then he should offer to pay her bills. Nope. His money and he can chose how to spend it when it comes to their relationship.

    • Parenting Says:

      Some people want a “traditional” marriage regardless of children and age. If he (or they together) want a situation where the wife is a homemaker and the husband is the provider who are we to put limitations on when or how thats appropriate. One thing that is steange to me is that she isnt showing that she can manage a household budget which women traditionally in such a role do. But hey, to each his own.

      I agree with Moxie. Ask for what you want. If the man in my life conplained about his finances, I wouldnt immediately assume he is asking for help. I’d assume he was venting.

      • fuzzilla Says:

        **Some people want a “traditional” marriage regardless of children and age. **

        We shouldn’t judge what works for other people, but it’s not so clear that it *is* working, here, or that they’re on the same page. Sure, he said, “You won’t have to work” but they ain’t married yet.

        • 40something Says:

          Oh gosh! No judgments here on what kind of relationship they want. Good for them! It’s just not super common it a certain stage in life or even as common as it used to be at any point in life. And agreed. Like Fuzilla sad, apparently OP’s bf doesn’t quite see the relationship as “married” right now. So it appears that the boyfriend still expects her to be able to financially take care of herself.

  2. fuzzilla Says:

    This could be a case where her relationship with her ex- is her template for How Relationships Are and she thinks this guy’s off for deviating from that, even though he’s not doing anything wrong. I’m not sure if “strain” means she’s on the verge of getting evicted or she just doesn’t care to put the mechanic’s bill for her brakes on her credit card. I’m gonna guess if they regularly go on vacations, her situation isn’t all that dire and she’s got some learned helplessness going on.

    But anyway, I agree with Moxie and the other commenter – quit beating around the bush and just ask to borrow some money like a grownup.

  3. Hailey Says:

    If you don’t need a man to always support you financially then why are you asking in the first place? Sorry but you are a 48 year old woman who should know how to support herself financially whether there is someone in your life or not. Even if there is someone in it, it is not an expectation of them to financially support you. If they do, they’re choosing to do it. I’d be pretty unnerved if I dated someone who had that expectation. It’s one thing if you two decide to marry, but merely dating someone doesn’t entitle you to their bank account.

  4. Speed Says:

    Unfortunately, the OP has already asked the guy for money and been rejected. The man is no idiot, so he clearly understands what her “hints” of financial distress mean. He’s just pretending he doesn’t. Or he possibly doesn’t care.

    She can ask directly for money, but she must be prepared to be directly rejected. Or if he gives the money, it may be grudgingly. He might give it happily, but that is best-case, which you should never count on. Asking for the money risks souring the relationship, whether or not you get the actual cash. Regular requests for money would almost certainly sour the relationship.

    I base this purely on my own experience. I have no problem at all in paying for all dates, if the woman is broke (which is not uncommon in this economy). However, I would really balk at handing over cash or paying a bill for a woman who was not my wife. I know it makes no economic sense (because $200 spent on date = $200 cash handed over to a partner, or paid to a partner’s heating bill or something), but I’d just feel very uneasy, and particularly so if it became regular. Not to say I would never pay that way, but it would only be after some frank discussion. Maybe I’m just too selfish.

    Not to be funny, but the OP may just want to consider getting a second job, at least temporarily, to shore up her finances. The real, core problem, is a lack of money, not the guy.

  5. Noquay Says:

    Sorry, but one is responsible for ones own finances. When I was overwhelmed with bills after my Dads demise, I did without driving for a year because my car is expensive and is expensive to insure and license. That’s what you do; do without and save up. Get rid of cable, driving, internet, excessive electric usage, travel, entertainment, clothing and other expenses. If your income is that unstable, consider seeking other employment. If you can’t keep an emergency fund for these sorts of times, you’re living beyond your means. As an adult, you’re responsible for your own situation. The bf’s words; “you won’t have to work” is just that; mere words.

  6. Mandy Says:

    People have all different kinds of relationships with money. Sometimes people who’ve never had to worry about money really don’t get the hints–they assume you could just put something on your credit card now and pay it off the next pay period. “I don’t know how I’m going to make it through to the next pay period” might mean, to them, “I guess I’m going to have to use some savings this month until things pick up again”. If your BF is seeing you have plenty of nice things and go out regularly, he might not understand that you’re in real financial trouble (if you are).

    He also might be judging you and your spending habits, the way you are judging him and his spending habits saying you know he has plenty of money. You really can’t know this unless you see all of his accounts….AND understand his priorities. For instance,I learned during dating my now-husband that if I say I’m running out of money it means I have no money in my checking or savings accounts and already have a lot on my credit card (hey, I was in my 20’s and irresponsible); if my then-bf said it he meant that his checking account only has about a month’s worth of expenses left and he has nothing on his credit cards, and if he lost his job in a month he’s have to start using his extensive savings (he was uniquely responsible in his 20’s). I had to start being a lot more fiscally responsible before we combined any finances, and we still keep quite a bit separate.

    • 40something Says:

      Mandy makes a valid point. I remember when I was 22 and bought a house with my now ex bf. He was recently out of college and I was a year out. He made almost 4 times what I did. He was extremely generous and always paid when we went out and for vacations. He certainly didn’t have to but he wanted me to go so he did. I did get a 2nd job on the weekends to supplement my income and pay off the dreaded school loans but money was tight. However, at 22 I knew that was my issue and not his. When it came to bills, we split everything 50/50. Years later he said he wasn’t sure if he should have been so adamant. I said, “I might have gotten frustrated at the time, but that was one of the best things you did for me.”

      • 40something Says:

        Sorry. Meant to say everyone has a different concept of what financially strapped means to them.

        • fuzzilla Says:

          Yup. If you really are seriously strapped, wouldn’t you reach out to family before your boyfriend (assuming that’s an option – and if it’s not, explain that it’s not)? Seems odd that the focus is on him being a crappy and cheap boyfriend rather than on fixing her financial problems.

          I can certainly understand being financially strapped, but as you said feelings about money are very subjective. There are crisis situations, and then there are people who are in a “crisis” of their own making every other week. Bailing out someone like that (whether financially or emotionally) won’t be a one time thing, as they’re a bottomless pit of need.

  7. Yvonne Says:

    I think Nicole is also questioning her BF’s commitment level. Rightly or wrongly, many women still equate varying degrees of financial support with a man’s level of seriousness. This is why many women are put off when a man doesn’t offer to pay on early dates. The idea is, his willingness to pay shows interest level, so going Dutch is what friends or casual daters do. She mentioned that they’ve broken up twice, another sign that she has questions about his commitment level.

    As far as asking her family for help, not everyone has family that is in a position to assist. But I agree that she should ask her boyfriend for help. He may be getting her hints, but he may not. He may be willing to support her if they get married, but not before. If they end up getting married, how they view finances will be an important part of their relationship.

    • Selena Says:

      It’s odd to me given they’ve been together 2.5 yrs and have discussed marriage, that she has to “hint” rather than just ask him for a loan/help.

      Makes me wonder if this has happened before and led to a pointed conversation about her spending habits. He’s not responding to the “hints” because he feels she puts herself in this position through irresponsible spending?

    • 40something Says:

      She may be questioning his commitment level – I agree. However, If she’s equating him paying her bills to his commitment level then perhaps she should have that *different* conversation. Who knows? I would be curious as to why they broken up a couple of times as well too. Wonder if those break ups have to do with “commitment concerns.”

      I think the difference in the situation is that she says her boyfriend is very generous when it applies to going out and vacations. To me, this is a different ballgame. Lots of my guy friends get *super* testy about financial situations when their wives work even though they the guy) may be the primary breadwinner. Actually, it’s the same with the women I know when they are married to a guy and they(the women) are the higher income earner.

  8. myself Says:

    Having gone through a period of unemployment recently, this has been a discussion between my significant other and myself. As I told him, it’s lovely that he wishes he was flush enough to be able to help me, but honestly, it’s up to ME to plan better. If I was absolutely desperate I would ask, but I am an adult and I have to deal.

    It amazes me that the OP is even able to think like this. Up to her to deal with her own issues….geezus.

  9. Kyra Says:

    I’m appalled that someone would think their SO owes it to them to help pay their bills!

    No, you’re an adult, the bills are in your name, and it’s your responsibility to do whatever it takes to get together the money you owe. He doesn’t have to give you a cent, and you have no right to make him feel guilty about it; he has his own financial needs to look after.

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